Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He was a master of the Cape Cod style house, particularly its 1930s–1950s Colonial Revival incarnation. Houses built to his designs continue to fetch a premium. From 1919 until 1925, he worked as a design engineer for the Turner Construction Company of Boston, while engaging in his own architectural practice on the side.
To advance his business, he regularly published sketch plans and elevations in the Boston Transcript.
He also answered questions from readers about architecture. Commissions followed.
He became a registered architect in 1925, opening his own Boston office on lower Beacon Street the same year. With success, his firm moved to Beacon Hill.
In 1954, he was elected a fellow of the American Institute of Architects.
Will"s artistry brought refinement to every level of planning, engineering and detail of the Cape model. They were low to the ground, with eaves just above the windows, and surmounted by an outsized central chimney (a Wills hallmark). The roof pitch ranged from 8 to 10 inches (200 to 250 mm), vertically, in a 12-inch (300 mm) run.
The sash was made up from 24 to 36 individual lights, and clapboards graduated from a 23⁄4-inch exposure at the foundation, to a typical 41⁄4-inch exposure from the top of the window sill to the eave.
But most of all, Wills emphasized what he termed "scale"—the relationship of parts to one another that gives a design perfection and charm. And unlike many architects, he offered "partial services", adding to contractor designs without cartulary-register
In 1938, Life Magazine selected four modern architects and four traditional architects, asking them to prepare home designs for families in four income categories. In the category for people with $5,000 to $6,000 incomes, the modern design was by Frank Lloyd Wright and the traditional one by Royal Barry Wills.
The family chose the Wills house over the Wright design, and the home was built in Edina, Minnesota.
With the motto "no stock plans", Wills designed buildings not only in New England, but from Canada to Florida, including Capes, garrisons, saltboxes, churches, and, in 1941, a 300-unit housing complex for defense workers. Author of eight books on architecture offering designs and advice, he died in Boston. In 1957, his firm became Royal Barry Wills Associates, and remains active today.
"He wanted only to design the indigenous New England house supremely well, and succeeded beyond any other architect.".